The late conservationist and television personality Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin said, “The truth is, we will never save wildlife by killing it.” However, there are many instances in which simple acts of nature on antenna structures require action.
Vultures and other nuisance birds can place a major burden not only on cell towers, but also on commercial real estate, aviation equipment and agriculture. Bird Deterrent Technologies has developed a working solution that provides a happy medium between the environment and business.
Lifelike predatory bird replicas or effigies can cause vultures and other birds that roost on cell towers, water towers and large buildings in high-traffic areas to relocate to other territories. Birds will not congregate in an area where one of their own has been injured or killed. The intelligently designed and precisely engineered large vulture effigies hang in the head-down position to mimic a struggling or dead black vulture.
Effects of Birds
It is important to understand the huge ramifications these birds have on wiring and fiber-optic cables, in addition to steel structures and buildings. Finding an effective solution for nuisance wildlife is rather difficult. You have to apply the right skills, engineering and a reasonable solution to satisfy our society’s high demands.
A bird’s acidic droppings coat structures and make it even more dangerous than it otherwise would be for workers who climb towers to perform maintenance. Also, undigested fur and bones the birds frequently cough up can coat the ground at the base of each roost site. Large numbers of nuisance birds can scare business owners, their customers and nearby residents, and can potentially damage the structure or equipment attached to it. Taking advantage of the self-preservation instincts present in all living things, this new concept will change the way all industries think about how to control the problem of nuisance wildlife.
Remedy for Nesting Problems
Ty Brauch, vice president of New-Tech Construction, has been kind enough to credit my passion for all wildlife, especially birds of prey, as a driving force that led me to seek a remedy for the nesting problem with vultures and nuisance birds to deliver a valuable solution for both the business and conservation worlds. “Russell understands the self-preservation instincts wildlife possesses,” Branch said.
The right solution is not extermination, but instead it is the behavioral modification of the target species.
Updates to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 specify severe penalties for bird eradication. In 2016, a South Carolina attorney received the penalties of a $75,000 fine, probation and a hunting ban for illegally trapping and killing a protected migratory species.
One of my first customers was Calvary Christian Center in Ormond Beach, Florida, which has a congregation of more than 2,000 people. The church also operates Calvary Christian Academy, a K-12 school, and was ready to force the removal of a tower from its property because of the fecal contamination and unsightly bird problem. Vultures loitered on the steeple and on the fields where children played. Calvary had tried installing spikes on the tower, displaying dead vultures that decayed after a few weeks and even lighting fireworks. None of the attempts were met with success. But once the church installed vulture effigies, the vulture problem seemingly disappeared, leaving a happy congregation.
The city of Lake Alfred, Florida, had spent more than $25,000 to rid its water tower of roosting vultures. Then in October 2017, the central Florida municipality installed a vulture effigy and saw almost immediate results.
In January 2018, Duke Energy implemented the same solution on a tower in Carrabelle, Florida. Within days, the structure, which had attracted hundreds of vultures, was clear of the roosting birds. And in Ormond Beach, Florida, a cell tower besieged for years by unwanted birds went from more than 150 vultures to zero after effigies were installed.
Telecom Tower Examples
According to Scott Covell, vice president of Tampa, Florida-based Skyway Towers, the effigies represent a unique, natural way to deal with a difficult situation that has been problematic in today’s commercial, industrial, energy, aviation and residential markets. “In today’s eco-conscious world, Bird Deterrent Technologies’ nonlethal product and approach to a deterrent has been well thought out,” Covell said.
It is important to protect sensitive equipment and even more so the health of company or service personnel who otherwise would be subject to the risk factors of working in and around bird feces. The visual threat solution of vulture effigies quickly pays for itself when considering the large expenses that can be avoided: equipment replacement, dozens of failed homemade bird replicas, numerous installation fees, pressure-washing cell towers and other facilities, and federal permitting, for example.
Tower operators, facility managers and other industry stakeholders now have a viable alternative that was not available in past years. The effigy product offers hope for changing the way we think about and deter nuisance wildlife. It becomes possible to save wildlife and money at the same time.
Russell Adams, a master falconer who has had a falconer license for 40 years, is the founder of Bird Deterrent Technologies, a company that manufactures vulture effigies. Visit www.bdtllc.com.